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Tire swamp drained, company wants permit for more

State Rep Mike Carroll tosses the last of 650,000 tires which have been shredded in Duryea, while Duryea council members Audrey Yager and Audrey Marcinko and Raymond Duval of Nationwide look on.

Photo by jack smiles

Standing on a shredding machine at Nationwide Tire Recycing in Duryea on Friday afternoon, State Representative Mike Carroll ceremonially tossed a tire onto the machine’s conveyor. It was the last of the 650,000 used automobile tires from an 20-foot high, eight-acre tire swamp which had scarred the land off Clark Road for a decade and Carroll was relieved to see it go. “We had the fear of God over this place. A fire here would have been devastating,” Carroll said.

Tire swamp fires are notoriously difficult to extinguish and can cause massive pollution and evacuations. And, as the black heat-absorbent tires make perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes, the swamps are health hazards.

Before throwing the ceremonial tire, Carroll, Duryea council members and DEP representatives toured the facility and talked with Nationwide representatives.

All that remains of the 800,000 tires which were discarded at the site when Hawk Recycling Services owned it are 150,000 truck and heavy equipment tires which are too large for the shredding machine.

Nationwide general manager Bud Stephenson said those tires are going to be shipped overseas. Now, he hopes, DEP will give Nationwide a permit to accept tires from outside the facility.

Stephenson said Nationwide, which invested over $1 million in shredding equipment, needs the permit to start making money and to prevent the loss 10 full-time jobs.

Duryea Borough council chairwomen Audrey Marcinko said she wrote a letter to DEP on behalf of the borough urging the agency to issue the permit. “Some people have a negative view of Duryea,” Marcinko said. “That’s why we appreciate the action Nationwide has taken here. We want them to get the permit.”

Nationwide also removed 100 tons of scrap metal and four 30-yard dumpsters of garbage from the site.

Carroll said he will do what he can to expedite the permit. He said allowing Nationwide to import tires will reduce “wildcat,” or illegal dumping.

Chuck Rogers of DEP said the main issue is upping the company’s bonding and once that is resolved the permit could be issued in two to three weeks.

Stephenson said that can be done. “It’s a simple fix, we just up the amount per tire.”

Stephenson said there are potential customers lining up willing to pay Nationwide to take and shred tires. “We get calls everyday. We need that permit on the wall. We have to get back in business.”

The swamp of tires was created because Hawk Recycling never lived up to the second part of its name. Only a small fraction of the tires dumped there were recycled.

Joe Hawk was jailed briefly twice for contempt for refusing to clean up the swamp. Finally he was enjoined from accepting any additional tires. But the dumping continued, illegally.

Nationwide, a company with roots in New York and Maryland, bought the old Hawk site and began the clean up in May 2010. The shredded tires are sold to Hercules Cement in Northampton County for kiln fuel.

Because there are approximately three quarts of oil in an average discarded vehicle tire they make an excellent fuel with a higher BTU value than coal and lower emissions.

Burning TDF was first approved for cement plants in the early 1990s.

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